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Weapons of Choice

JUNK funkateers Weapons of Sound – officially hailed as the greenest band on the planet because they're the best and most high-profile ensemble to bang out the recycle message on a load of old rubbish – have come up with a brand new musical category, eco-hop.
Now in their 16th year as Plymouth's premier musical ambassadors, the band have linked up with hip-hop producer One Step, aka Tom Sweetman, to create hip-hop tracks with some of the best rappers in the business.
"Tom came to see our show at The Hub, last year and loved what he saw," says Maya of WOS.
"He came up with the idea of fusing junk-funk with hip-hop and was able to put us in touch with several great artists. We've already completed one track, Heard It Like, which features upcoming rapper Dominique Larue from Ohio, and we're working on another with Akil from Jurassic 5."
The arrangement involved the band creating their unique backing tracks which they recorded at Sawmills Studios in Golant on the Fowey Estuary – "a fabulous environment to work in", says long-serving WOS member Hannah.

One Step was then able to add voice-overs at a later date. Heard It Like will be available on the Barrier label to download at the middle/end of June, while the subsequent track with Akil should be out in August.
And with other artists including Natty, Roots Manuva, Jamie T and VV Brown lining up to work with WOS it looks like a fantastic departure for the band which could take on a completely new life of it's own, presenting their music to a whole new audience.
In fact an eco-hop album looks like being on the cards.
"It's been brilliant fun working on this project," says WOS player Lou, "but it's another string to our bow. We'll never stop doing what we do…
Now a self-contained business, doing what they do actually encompasses a very wide ranging variety of activities from educational and corporate events to opening top sports fixtures and entertaining at major festivals.
"One highlight of this year will be playing Silverstone for the British Grand Prix," says Lou.
It's another feather in the cap for the band whose previous highs include entertaining 85,000 people at Twickenham rugby stadium to open the Heineken Cup Final, warming up the crowds at the Champions League final at the Stade de France in Paris and performing at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.
One of the all-time pinnacles, as well as playing Buckingham Palace for the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, was performing at the Royal Albert Hall to a star-studded audience that included HRH Prince Charles and Al Gore.
However, many of their bookings are far more down to earth.
"We get quite a lot of work from local councils who want to bang home the green message," explains Maya.
"We were heavily involved for four years with Don't Let Devon Go To Waste and we're very popular with Nottingham and Essex councils. Last year Essex alone booked us for 25 different environmental events."
And the band have put their own message into practice by off-setting their carbon emissions: "Every time we get a booking we fund the planting of a tree through Tree Appeal, a company that plants trees nationally in the UK."
With their innovative use of shopping trolleys, gas pipes, plastic barrels, scaffolding poles and yes, even the kitchen sink, the band, which consists of six full-timers and a back up crew of 15, are as thrilling visually as they are aurally.
Naturally they are in heavy demand at festivals. They're awaiting confirmation for Glastonbury, but have played there most years of their 16 in existence.
With such an incredibly busy schedule it's no surprise that performances in Plymouth are relatively few and far between.
They usually manage to kick up a storm at The Respect Festival in the autumn and will be back in town for a workshop and performance in North Prospect on July 11.
For more info see myspace.com/weaponsofsound and weaponsofsound.com

Friday, May 22, 2009, 07:00


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